Matric Exams Won't Be Disrupted Amid Strikes, Says Department

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Finals are a stressful time for Grade 12 learners. Disruptions can make this period even more stressful, as the chances of rewriting are increased.


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The Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) has doubled down on ensuring that this year's matric exams will not be interrupted by strikes currently taking place in the public sector. 

The WCED, in a speech made on 9 November, assured anxious parents that exam administration in schools should not be affected, and will continue as planned. 

The Head of Department at the WCED, Brent Walters, recently met with the province's teachers’ unions and a public sector union. The teachers’ unions have assured the Department that they will not be participating in the strike, so the exam period should unfold with little to no interruptions.

The Public Servants Association said that its members will embark on a strike that will affect the activities of government departments, especially home affairs and transport, from 10 November.

Unions have demanded a raise of as much as 10%. Inflation in South Africa is currently 7.5%.

The standoff between civil servants and the South African government has reached a crisis after Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi said last week that he was unilaterally implementing a 3% wage increase for the state’s 1.3 million workers. 

The Public Servants Association has issued a public service announcement, stating that "Public servants, like other employees and taxpayers, are feeling the severe effects of major price increases for fuel, transport, and food, as well as interest rate hikes.

The cash gratuity, which is not pensionable and thus not an ultimate solution, assisted public servants and, if retained beyond March 2023, will further assist public servants who have not received a salary increase for the past three years.

The government’s decision to unilaterally implement the meagre increase in public servants’ salaries in November 2022 has angered the PSA, and the Union will intensify its efforts to protect public servants’ rights and interests as underlined by nationwide marches on 10 November 2022."  

The WCED has called to everyone, including members of the public sector unions, to put the best interests of the country's Grade 12 learners first, stating that "We must treat our matrics as VIPs for the remaining few weeks of the exams."

Contingency measures have been put in place in the event that any public sector staff members should choose to participate in the strike, as Eastern Cape educators have also threatened to embark on a strike of their own in protest of the non-delivery of learning materials.

A few learners have already missed some of their exams due to community protests taking place in provinces such as Mpumalanga and the North West.

In Gauteng, a principal is facing disciplinary action for telling learners not to appear for their Economics Paper One.

At least 53 Matric learners at a school in the Gauteng East District were advised not to come to the examination venue and misdirected by claims that there was a protest in the area. 

The WCED's speech concludes by referencing the fact that the Class of 2022 has already had to overcome two years of disrupted schooling during their Grade 10 and 11 years, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, on top of the challenges of loadshedding, making an already stressful time even more stressful. 

 

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